Archive | January 2017

2017 is the Year of the Pansy


2017 is the Year of the Pansy!
Year of the Begonia

Pansies are such a friendly-faced flower! But until the 19th century most people considered them a weed. Today, pansies are a hybrid plant cultivated from those wildflowers in Europe and western Asia. Much of the collection and cultivation of pansies can be attributed to plantsmen and women in the UK and Europe more than 200 years ago. For example, Lady Mary Elizabeth Bennet, daughter of the Earl of Tankerville, and her gardener cross-bred a wide variety of Viola tricolor (common name “Heartsease”) and showcased their pansies to the horticultural world in 1813. Further experiments around the same time eventually grew the class to over 400 garden pansy varieties.

Garden pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) are a mixture of several species, including Viola tricolor. Oftentimes the names “pansy”, “viola”, and “violet” are interchangeable. However modern pansies are classified by the American Violet Society as having large-flowered blooms with two slightly overlapping upper petals, two side petals, and a single bottom petal, with a slight beard in its center. They’re considered annual bedding plants, used for garden decoration during cooler planting seasons. Pansies come in a rainbow of colors: from crisp white to almost black, and most all colors in between. They are also a great addition to your spring or fall vegetable garden as they are edible and pair well with lettuces. They can also be candied and used to decorate sweets or other dishes.

Read more about the history of pansies here.

Most pansies fall into a few categories: Large (3 to 4 in.), Medium (2 to 3 in.) Multiflora (1 to 2 in.) and a new category of Trailing pansy. Some modern large-flowered pansy series are Majestic Giant Mix, bred by Sakata (a 1966 All-America Selections Winner); Delta, bred by Goldsmith Seeds; and Matrix, bred by PanAmerican Seed. Medium-sized pansy series include Crown by Sakata and Imperial from Takii & Co., Ltd. (Imperial Blue won an All-America Selections in 1975). Multiflora pansy series like Maxim and Padparadja won AAS awards in the early 1990s. New on the scene for hanging baskets and ground cover are WonderFall from Syngenta, and Cool Wave® pansies, from PanAmerican Seed – the makers of Wave® petunias. These Trailing pansies spread over 2 ft. wide and overwinter in fall gardens. Today’s garden pansy varieties can fill any sunny space – large or small, hanging overhead or growing underfoot – with soft fragrance and happy blooms.

Starting Your Pansies From Seed:
To germinate, start your pansy seeds indoors with a soilless mixture (this helps prevent disease on the seedlings). Plant seed 1/8-in. deep with a light cover and a gentle watering. Pansies prefer darkness for germination. The media temperature should be 60-65°F and keep air temperature at 70-75°F. The media should stay damp (covering with a plastic wrap or damp newspaper will help retain humidity. A fine spray or mister can be added if the media dries. Germination occurs in 10-20 days. When shoots appear, remove covering and move the flat to a brightly lit but cool room to continue to grow. Continue to grow cool. Separate seedlings into larger containers after two sets of leaves appear. Begin to feed with diluted plant food.

For Transplants or Purchased Finished Plants:
space your pansies 6 to 10 in. apart in a well-drained and fertile soil location. The best location is an area that receives morning sun. Adding granular or time-release nutrition to the soil is encouraged, especially for trailing pansies as this increases their vigor and number of blooms. Offer plenty of water at planting and during their adjustment period to help establish roots and minimize stress. Mulching can help retain moisture and reduce any weeds that may compete with your plants. Pansies planted in the spring will enjoy the warm days and cool nights of the season. Most V. wittrockiana will begin to diminish or go out of flower as nighttime temperatures begin to rise in the summer. When planted in the north for fall outdoor decorating, pansies will enjoy a shorter but colorful season of blooms and in many cases will overwinter to pop up again the following spring. Southern gardeners often use pansies as their winter color and enjoy them all season long.

For more information on Pansies, please see our NGB website Year of the Pansy page!

The National Garden Bureau recognizes and thanks, PanAm Seed as the author of this fact sheet. This fact sheet is provided as an educational service of the National Garden Bureau. There are no limitations on the use. Please credit the National Garden Bureau. Photos can be obtained from the NGB website in the area labeled “Image Downloads.” National Garden Bureau would like to thank our members for providing the photos for this feature. Please credit the National Garden Bureau anytime one of these images is used.

Pansy Inspire Plus Beaconsfield
Pansy Inspire Plus Beaconsfield
Pansy Colossus Tricolor Imperial
Pansy ColossusTricolor Imperial
Pansy Nature Mulberry Shades
Pansy Nature Mulberry Shades
Pansy King Henry Viola
Pansy King Henry 
Pansy Majestic Giants II Blue Jean
Pansy Majestic Giants II Blue Jeans
Pansy Majestic Giants II Mix
Pansy Majestic Giants II Mix
Pansy Matrix Solar Flare
Pansy Matrix Solar Flare
Pansy Panola Primrose
Pansy Panola Primrose
Pansy Cool Wave Morpho
Want to plant something new this year?

Check out the latest in new flowers and edibles from our NGB Members!

Pansy Cool Wave Morpho delivers easy spreading color in the ground and containers and is perfect for hanging baskets.

#newfor2017  #plantsomethingnew

For more information: Contact Diane Blazek at National Garden Bureau by e-mail.

Founded in 1920, the National Garden Bureau is a non-profit organization whose mission is to disseminate basic instructions for backyard gardeners and those who want to garden, that will inspire them to spend more time outdoors, enjoying all nature has to offer. 

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AAS Introduces New Winners for the 2017 Garden Season


Reposted with permission of All-American Selections

16 New AAS Winners for Your 2017 Garden!
Celosia Asian Garden
2017 National Winner, Ornamental Seed 
Dianthus Interspecific Supra Pink F1
2017 National Winner, Ornamental Seed
Fennel Antares F1
2017 National Winner, Edible
Geranium Calliope® Medium Dark Red
2017 National Winner, Ornamental Vegetative
Okra Candle Fire F1
2017 National Winner, Edible
Pea Patio Pride
2017 Regional Winner – Southeast, Edible 
Penstemon barbatus Twizzle Purple F1
2017 Regional Winner – Heartland and Southeast, Edible 
Pepper Mad Hatter F1
2017 National Winner, Edible
Squash Winter Honeybaby F1
2017 Regional Winner – Heartland, Edible
Tomato Chef’s Choice Yellow F1
2017 Regional Winner – Southeast, Edible
Tomato Patio Choice Yellow F1
2017 National Winner, Edible
Verbena EnduraScape™ Pink Bicolor
2017 National Winner, Ornamental Vegetative
Vinca Mega Bloom Orchid Halo F1
2017 National Winner, Ornamental Seed
Vinca Mega Bloom Pink Halo F1
2017 National Winner, Ornamental Seed
Watermelon Mini Love F1
2017 National Winner, Edible
Zinnia Profusion Red
2017 National Winner, Ornamental Seed
All-America Selections is the only non-profit trialing organization for plants that demonstrate great garden performance throughout North America. Each variety was trialed in North America by professional, independent, volunteer judges during one growing season. Each entry was trialed next to comparison varieties that are considered best-in-class among those currently on the market. Only the best performers are declared AAS Winners.
You can purchase AAS Winners for the 2017 gardening season through these mail-order companies as well as garden centers throughout North America.

More information on these winners and all AAS Winners can be found on our AAS website.  

Perennial Plant Association’s Perennial Plant of the Year for 2017


Reposted with permission of the National Garden Bureau:

Asclepias tuberosa
2017 Perennial Plant of the Year™
A great pollinator plant!
Butterfly Weed – A North American Native Plant
Asclepias tuberosa are butterfly magnets. Flowers are a nectar source for many butterflies and leaves are a source for the monarch butterfly caterpillars.

Additionally, butterfly weed is subject to no serious insect or disease problems. Deer usually avoid butterfly weed.

Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 to 9

Light: Butterfly weed grows best in full sun

Soil: Grows best in well-drained soils and it is drought tolerant

Uses: Butterfly weed is a perfect selection for full-sun meadow or prairie gardens as well as formal to semi-formal urban gardens. Flower arrangers find the plants make long-lasting cut flowers.

For more information about Asclepias tuberosa, visit the Perennial Plant Association

Founded in 1920, the National Garden Bureau is a non-profit organization whose mission is to disseminate basic instructions and inspirations for backyard gardeners and those who want to garden; encouraging them to spend more time outdoors enjoying all nature has to offer.